William Johnston –
A Tailor for Peterborough
It is with George, son of William Johnston, that this interesting family story first begins. George was born in Peterborough on 15 July 1849, in an era when this part of Ontario was known as Canada West. His early education and studies took place in local schools. However, his family story begins a generation earlier with the arrival of his father.
Ireland to Canada West
William, the father of George, was born in Drum, County Monaghan, Ireland on 12 July 1819. A son of James Johnston and Jane Campbell, William became an immigrant to Canada West in 1842. Arriving in the company of his uncle, George Campbell, these two men settled in the village of Millbrook.
Three years later William’s parents and siblings also came to Canada West. The family of James and Jane Johnston took up residence in Cavan Township. The five children who arrived with their parents in 1845 were: George, born in 1823; Sarah Ann born in 1833; James Jr., born in 1836; Louisa born in 1837 and Margaret Jane born in 1840. One child, Eliza had died in Ireland in 1830. No doubt the parents often recalled this little daughter. One they had left, asleep in an Irish graveyard, far across the sea. Twenty years into the future, four of the grown Johnston children were still residents in the village of Millbrook. Together they celebrated Canadian Confederation in 1867.
William, son of James and Jane Johnston, became a resident in the town of Peterborough in 1846. Thereafter it became his permanent home. In 1847, William married Jane Mitchell, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Henderson) Mitchell of Emily Township. Jane was born 4 March 1826.